B2B Sales, Lead Generation and Marketing Blog

Qualifying a Sales Lead: Four Phases of Assessing an Opportunity

Posted by Vendere Team on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 @ 08:02 AM

Utilizing an effective process to assess an opportunity throughout the sales process will help you in focusing in the right areas to win new business and knowing when to walk. Clearly identifying where to invest your time and resources is crucial to success and to maximizingTable and chairs in conference room your R. O. I.

Ensure that your sales force is focused on qualified opportunities by correctly assessing the opportunity in front of you. 

Phase One

Recognize whether or not the opportunity exists. Is there a project and are you a fit? Can you identify a pain or challenge that matches to a solution, service or product that you sell?

Know the company's business profile. Find out what their financial condition is and if they have access to funds. Is there a compelling event, a specific event such as a merger or acquisition, significant increase in the number of employees, or a new regulatory compliance in related industries? What is driving the prospect to your product or service and to make a buying decision? Ultimately, is this a qualified sales lead?

Phase Two

Identify whether or not you can compete for their business. Know who the decision makers are, what the stake holders are basing their decision around and what the decision making process is. This is considered the formal decision criteria. Do not continue until this is clearly defined.

Ask yourself, is this a good fit? Is the juice worth the squeeze? How many resources do you need and how strong are your current relations? Begin to develop a coach internally.

It is always to your advantage to know if the organization is working with a competitor and how unique your product is. Specifically, does your solution offer significant business value that will enable you to differentiate yourself from your competitor(s)?

Phase Three

Determine whether or not you can expect to win this opportunity. Verify what is definitely in your favor. Do you have any inside support, is there anyone within the organization pushing for you or leading you in the right direction? Who are you selling through, a decision maker or someone within a department that will need to get approval through finance? Also, recognize whether your organizations mesh well and if there is cultural compatibility?

Establish why this purchase is important to the person you're selling to. Will it ease their job or is it a critical solution/product to them? Will it make them a hero? What does that person have to gain or lose with this solution? This would be considered informal decision criteria. Keeping that in mind will help the process, as will being aware of political alignment. Know if there are other players you should build rapport with and be aware how your product/solution/service will affect them.

Phase Four

After you ascertain whether you have a real opportunity, whether you can compete for this company's business and if you can reasonably expect to win, you have to dictate if it is even worth winning. What are your objectives? Will there be short term or future revenue, room for growth and long term profitability? What profit margins are you looking at? What is the degree of risk, does it make sense to do business and is there potential of failure which may cost more in the long run.

Understanding these four phases has benefited our technology sales process for over 20 years. Here at Vendere Partners, we almost make it a game to fill in the blanks with response. You win the game by completing the most information that will enable you to close the opportunity. Knowing what you don’t know will force you to better understand your funnel. If you enjoyed this blog, feel free to read our blog around The 5 Key Sales Strategies to Close Targeted Prospects.

Topics: lead generation, sales, outsourcing, qualified leads

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